Unsolved, by James Patterson and David Ellis.
The title is confusing, since the problem finally appears solved, although not until the reader has been led down many a blind alley…and there is one deliberately unsolved character towards the end. We are left with the idea that her heroism outweighs her crime and that the record of her actions should only involve her absolution, not condemnation.
We are told that today’s FBI agents spend most of their time glued to computers, using very sophisticated methods to trace and untangle the various pieces of information they have to work on. Only when they have uncovered a great deal of confusing material do they ‘grab’ their cell phones, ‘jump’ in their cars and go off sleuthing.
In this story there are a lot of apparent dead ends, but finally they do fit into the puzzle and make some sense. But the real story, it seems, is the relationships between the main characters and what happens to them. And plenty does. There is violence, misplaced heroism, professional point-scoring against others, and always the hunt for the person who uses a repeatedly ugly way to finish off the chosen victims.
However this person is equally as clever at manipulating the material the agents have to work on, and since the reader is made fully aware of the painstaking modus operandi of the bad guy, we are left clueless as the perpetrator gets away with it every time. Seemingly. The reader may begin to wonder how many bad guys there could be here.
Some of the Americanisms are a bit obscure, but we can work them out, including a “burner” phone. The term is perhaps unknown here…a cell/mobile phone, paid for in cash, and untraceable. Seems every cop should have one.